Creative Innovations

International problem-solving and development focused on the local community with the local.

Photo of Alejandro
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Education
  • Environment

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

December 1, 1997

Help us stay in touch!

210-806-4111 One Trinity Place #2085, Trinity University Texas: San Antonio (78212)

Date You Started Your Project Started

April 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The central issues wishing to be solved are a community's food sustainability and access to clean water. Peripheral issues are how the traditional organizations would cause cultural harm, force a community into economic dependence upon another, as well as subjugate the community to a solution they don't understand and can't repair. Solving these issues matters because a community will not just survive another day, but thrive for a lifetime.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The way the issues will be resolved is through a multi-step process. First, contact would be made with a struggling community. Meet a representative of the community in learning about traditions and the problem from their perspective. The problem would then be assessed in the context of that community's geography, culture, and sociopolitical structures. Then working directly with the community, charities, and tech/building companies, devise a solution adapted for that community. Next, the locals would be taught how to maintain the solution. Then to help them maintain implemented solution, help the community develop a revenue source for the constant upkeep of the solution and community. Afterward, there would be occasional check-ups on the community to ensure the solution was effective and didn't cause any unforeseen problems. To best illustrate the model, here's a hypothetical situation: Make contact with a group in Mexico. Visit and take time to assess the issue of a polluted stream that has undrinkable water. Implement a filtration device made with accessible materials. Educate the locals on basic upkeep and then help them sell a local product to a nearby group or overseas.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Springbreak of 2018, I found myself in Nicaragua. It was in conjunction with a special topic course titled Health and the Environment. I was seeing the sociopolitical system I've studied about in person. It was a fun experience, but it was humbling. I have experienced hunger as associated with poverty. And almost everywhere I looked in Nicaragua, there was a desperate struggle to make it another day. From political activists dealing with the loss of family from polluted waters in a sugar cane field to the numerous fruit merchants selling on sidewalks and middle of the streets to a cooperative trying to grow crops to eat... they were reaching for the next day and the next. I could personally relate to an entire country in need and I decided I wanted to do more than learn about their problems. I decided I wanted to help out any similar community and to do so where they were independent.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Contact would be made with say a group in Nicaragua and with representative assess the situation and context given of the community. Partnered charities would provide clean drinking water as partnered tech, if available, would help build a dam or water purification system made with materials accessible to that group of Nicaraguans. Someone from the community would be taught how to repair if necessary and would work with the communal workers in implementing and constructing. Then if the community makes figurines or apparel, open up a market channel between another group and/or the international community. If the latter, customers would have the benefit of niche products that directly supports struggling communities. A majority of the revenue would go back to the community in need with the rest being used as a way of funding another project. Check-ups with the 1st group will then start.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

What sets my company apart is that it's creative problem solving tailored to a community. My company is intentionally different in that it wants to work directly with the people it's assisting. The idea of this company is promote self-sufficiency while helping establish food sustainability and access to clean water. It stands alone because unlike traditional NGOs, NPOs, and social enterprises, it incorporates the people affected by the problem as part of the solution for the entirety of the process. If someone is hungry, why simply give them fish..when you can teach them how to themselves?

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The business isn't quite yet at startup phase, but tad bit more along than a simple idea. The difference would be noted by the overall level of improvement. Quite possibly do self-reports of level satisfaction and happiness before, during, and after of the community. Sufficiency and production be gauged by the longevity and improvement from the implemented solution.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Currently, I am reaching out to potential beneficiaries as well as partners. The next step would be to make the company more concrete-- gather funds and team.`

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Monitoring Impact

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Mentors/advisors

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community) (10)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Dr. Luis Martinez


Join the conversation:

Photo of Project Imagine

Wow - you have big goals and it will take a lot of work to not only start it but keep it going. Stay encouraged and your focus on local involvement will be important for this project to really make a difference. We can't live without water! all the best!

Photo of Brian Anderson

I think this is a really cool idea! I really like how you want use locally sourced materials and make sure the local citizens know what is going on. I also like how you want to help them generate a revenue stream to help support the maintenance of the infrastructure improvements. I'd love to hear where you want to start? In the US? Central America? I'd love to hear a plan for one specific community with specifics, just to see the details in action.